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Hardwood Flooring FAQ: Your Ultimate Guide

Posted on May 7, 2023

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Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for homeowners seeking to add a touch of elegance and timeless appeal to their living spaces. Its durability, natural beauty, and versatility make it a great investment for any home. However, with numerous options available on the market, it can be challenging to make an informed decision. In this blog post, we will answer common questions related to hardwood flooring to help you make the best choice for your home. Hardwood Flooring Common Questions

What are the main types of hardwood flooring?

There are two primary types of Hardwood Flooring: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.
  • Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood and can be sanded and refinished multiple times throughout its lifetime. It comes in various species, including oak, maple, cherry, and walnut, each with its own unique characteristics.
  • Engineered hardwood is made by bonding multiple layers of wood together, with a top layer consisting of a high-quality hardwood veneer. This construction provides greater stability and resistance to moisture, making it suitable for areas where solid hardwood may not be the best choice, such as basements or rooms with fluctuating humidity levels.
types of hardwood flooring

What factors should I consider when choosing hardwood flooring?

When selecting hardwood flooring, there are several factors to consider, including:
  • Wood species: Different species offer varying degrees of hardness, durability, and colour. Choose a species that suits your preferences, lifestyle, and the overall aesthetic of your home.
  • Board width: Hardwood flooring is available in a range of widths, from narrow strips to wide planks. Wider planks can make a room appear more spacious, while narrower strips can add a more traditional look.
  • Colour and finish: Hardwood floors come in various colours and finishes, including natural, stained, and prefinished. Consider the desired look and maintenance requirements when selecting the colour and finish of your hardwood flooring.
  • Installation method: Depending on the type of hardwood flooring, it can be installed using nails, glue, or a floating method. Consult with a professional installer to determine the best installation method for your home and chosen flooring type.
choosing hardwood flooring

How do I maintain and clean my hardwood flooring?

Proper care and maintenance can significantly extend the life of your hardwood flooring. Follow these general tips for maintaining and cleaning your hardwood floors:
  • Sweep or vacuum regularly to remove dirt, dust, and debris.
  • Use a damp mop to clean your floors, but avoid using excessive water, as it can cause damage to the wood.
  • Place protective pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents.
  • Use area rugs and door mats in high-traffic areas to minimise wear and tear.
  • Refrain from using harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, or steam cleaners on your hardwood flooring.

Can I install hardwood flooring in my kitchen or bathroom?

While hardwood flooring can be installed in kitchens, it may not be the best choice for bathrooms due to the high moisture levels. Engineered hardwood is a better option for kitchens, as it is more resistant to moisture and temperature fluctuations. However, even with engineered hardwood, it is essential to take precautions, such as promptly cleaning spills and using protective mats in areas exposed to water. install hardwood flooring in my kitchen

How do I know when it’s time to refinish my hardwood flooring?

Hardwood floors may need to be refinished every 7–10 years, depending on the level of wear and tear. Signs that it may be time to refinish your hardwood flooring include:
  • deep scratches or dents that cannot be easily repaired.
  • discoloration or fading due to sunlight or age.
  • worn or thinning finish in high-traffic areas.
  • lack of lustre, even after cleaning.

Can I install hardwood flooring over radiant heating systems?

Yes, you can install hardwood flooring over radiant heating systems, but it is crucial to choose the right type of hardwood and follow proper installation guidelines. Engineered hardwood is often recommended for use over radiant heat systems, as it is more dimensionally stable and less prone to warping or buckling due to temperature fluctuations. When installing hardwood flooring over radiant heating, follow these tips:
  • Consult with the manufacturer of the radiant heating system for specific recommendations and guidelines regarding hardwood flooring installation.
  • Ensure that the subfloor is properly prepared, clean, and level.
  • Allow the hardwood flooring to acclimatise to the room’s temperature and humidity levels for at least 72 hours before installation.
  • Use an approved underlayment or vapour barrier to protect the hardwood flooring from moisture and heat.
  • Monitor and maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels in the room to prevent damage to the hardwood flooring.

How does humidity affect hardwood flooring?

Humidity can have a significant impact on hardwood flooring, causing it to expand or contract due to changes in moisture levels. When humidity levels are high, wood absorbs moisture and expands, while low humidity levels can cause wood to release moisture and contract. These fluctuations can result in gaps between boards, cupping, or even buckling. To minimise the effects of humidity on hardwood flooring:
  • Maintain consistent indoor humidity levels between 35% and 55% using humidifiers or dehumidifiers.
  • Use a moisture barrier or underlayment during installation to protect the flooring from moisture.
  • Allow hardwood flooring to acclimatise to the room’s temperature and humidity levels before installation.

What is the difference between prefinished and site-finished hardwood flooring?

Prefinished hardwood flooring comes with a factory-applied finish, ensuring a consistent and durable coating. It offers a faster and cleaner installation process, as there is no need for sanding or finishing on-site. Prefinished hardwood flooring also comes with a warranty covering the finish. Site-finished hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is sanded, stained, and finished on-site after installation. This allows for greater customization in terms of colour and finish, as well as a seamless appearance, as the finish fills any gaps between boards. However, site-finished flooring may take longer to install and can produce more dust and fumes during the finishing process.

Can I install hardwood flooring myself?

While it is possible for homeowners to install hardwood flooring themselves, it is generally recommended to hire a professional installer to ensure a high-quality and long-lasting result. Hardwood flooring installation requires proper tools, knowledge, and experience to avoid potential issues such as uneven surfaces, gaps, or damage to the flooring material.

How does hardwood flooring compare to other flooring options in terms of cost?

Hardwood flooring can be more expensive upfront compared to other flooring options, such as laminate, vinyl, or carpet. However, when considering the long-term value, hardwood flooring often proves to be a worthwhile investment. With proper care and maintenance, hardwood flooring can last for decades, and its timeless appeal can enhance the overall value of your home.

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Conclusion

Hardwood flooring offers a beautiful, durable, and versatile flooring solution for any home. By understanding the various aspects of hardwood flooring, including types, maintenance, and installation considerations, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences. Whether you opt for solid or engineered hardwood or a classic or contemporary look, hardwood flooring can provide a stunning foundation for your living spaces.

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